Colombia may ban fumigations with Monsanto herbicide Roundup which contains glyphosate, a chemical recently classified as a likely carcinogen by the World Health Organisation.
According to a report in Telesur, president Juan Manuel Santos said he would consider the recommendation of the Health Ministry to suspend the product’s use after the authorities received complaints from indigenous people of various skin illnesses.
Glyphosate fumigations have been carried out since 1999 as part of the US-sponsored war on drugs. Earlier this month health minister Alejandro Gaviria called for the immediate suspension of aerial spraying but Colombia’s defence ministry opposes the move, claiming it would “give criminals the upper hand”.
The chorus of disapproval against glyphosate has been building throughout Latin America. Last month more than 30,000 doctors, scientists and environmentalists in Argentina joined a campaign calling for its ban after the publication of the WHO report, which was based on a peer-reviewed study published in March 2015 in The Lancet Oncology.